Diwali is the time for celebrations. I mostly celebrated Diwali during my childhood days in a rented house along with my brother. Nearly, one month before the festival of lights (#GharwaliDiwali), I along with my brother, father and mother used to visit a big textile shop – Parthas to purchase textile materials.
During those days readymade shirts and pants were not available in plenty. Hence, we used to purchase clothing for shirts and pants. It will then be given to a tailoring shop for stitching. It will normally take 2-3 weeks to get shirts and pants. Sometimes, the sizing of pants may not be accurate and will have to alter again by the tailor.
We also used to purchase dhothis and towels separately from another shop. These are used daily and hence we will purchase plenty of them. During my school days, I will buy my uniform as Diwali clothing in addition to few coloured shirts. I should mention here that clothing should be used only from the Diwali day.
I also remember the heavy rain which lashed when I along with my father was returning after clothing purchase. I had purchased Diwali clothing during my childhood days from Parthas, Ramachandran Textiles and Raymonds.
The next project after clothing purchase is sweets preparation. My mother used to manually prepare laddoos and mixture. During my childhood days, laddoos were prepared with Dalda. We later came to know that Dalda is harmful to health. Hence, we changed to pure refined coconut oil.
I remember that around 200 laddoos were prepared during my school days. My father is against putting any colouring agents for laddus. I will also assist my other to make laddu balls and are stored in big stainless steel containers.
Mixture is not a sweet. It is a salted dish which will be very tasty and crispy. The material used is same but they are prepared in several shapes. For example, there will be small balls, medium size sticks and small size biscuits. They are prepared using rice flour separately and mixed together along with roasted curry leaves.
I usually eat laddoos and mixture even before Diwali since I can’t resist the smell coming out of it.
I never visited native place during Diwali because there will be school classes. However, I will visit my native village which is a remote area near Thanjavur district during March-April. I will be there for one full month along with my cousins (some of them are naughty).
My grandmother used to call few women (Raji and Kamu) who are specialized in laddoos and mixture preparation.
I rightly remember that my cousin (currently in Bangalore) put some other unknown material on the laddoos stuff. I still remember this whenever I see laddoos being prepared.
I will bring two big box of laddu from my native village during my childhood days and eat them till they turn green. My father being a chemical engineer will throw away laddus if it turns green.
The next purchase to celebrate Diwali was of course crackers. I along with my father used to purchase crackers from Chalai market since they are cheap there and are available in plenty.
The sparkle item was my attraction. However, my father used to tie it on a big rod before usage for safety purpose. I was not allowed to handle crackers by my father.
I remember that my brother got injured when he attempted to burst a cracker. During those days, I just used to celebrate Diwali with crackers. I never thought about the amount of pollution it creates. However, that should be way to enjoy childhood days.
On Diwali day, I used to wake up around 5 AM, take a Ganga bath. After that I will wear new clothes and my father used to handle crackers. I used to watch the crackers as they burst. Some crackers will never burst or will make a mild sound.
My father will not purchase big sounding crackers and rockets since they are dangerous. We used to purchase crackers which don’t produce heavy sounds.
I then eat laddoos (around 2 or 3) and mixture which are kept inside tiffin boxes on the pooja room. By 11 AM all crackers will be finished. I used to purchase more crackers from a nearby small shop in afternoon along with my brother so that it can be used in evening.
My grandfather used to send a gift of Rs 500 via Money Order during Diwali time every year till his death. His Son (My Uncle) continues this tradition without fail. I am unable to ascertain the real reason behind this gift. I feel that it is being given to show affection.
I heard from my brother last year that Diwali crackers are available in USA as well. He purchased few crackers so that his daughter can enjoy Diwali like I did and remember them for long time.
During my childhood days, my father never purchased a camera. In fact, I never know about camera till my brother bought a Kodak film camera from Bangalore. Hence, I don’t have any snaps of my childhood Diwali celebrations. I regret about it now. But that should be the reality if you had spent your childhood during 1980-1990.
Nowadays, people celebrate Diwali via Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart and Amazon. But you should try to manually celebrate Diwali like I did during my childhood days to get a real taste of the festival.
Please visit https://www.gharwalidiwali.com for more information and offers.